17 January, 2018
Following a method that has yielded longstanding success in Supercars competition, Tickford Racing will again sample Australia’s pool of young driving talent, having signed Thomas Randle to its Dunlop Super2 program. The 21-year old native of Narre Warren North, Victoria will pilot the No. 5 Ford Falcon FG X in 2018’s seven-round campaign. The signing marks a return to Australian motorsport for Randle, who contested a number of European series’ in 2016 and 2017.
“First of all it’s great to be back in Australia,” said Randle. “I’ve had an amazing time in Europe the last two years, and I’d like to firstly thank all my supporters there, and Rusty French for his continued support as I return to Australia. To be part of Tickford Racing is pretty special, and to begin this new chapter of my career in this way feels pretty remarkable, I’m really looking forward to getting into it.”
At 21 years old, Randle comes to Tickford Racing with a range of experience in various types of machinery and accolades earned against some of the world’s most prominent up and coming drivers. His crowning achievement to date, winning the Toyota Racing Series, came in February 2017. Clinching the title in thrilling fashion at Circuit Chris Amon in New Zealand, Randle added his name to a list of champions that include Mitch Evans, Nick Cassidy, and Lance Stroll among others. His season later included opportunities in EuroFormula, LMP3, Formula Renault, Porsche GT4, and a round of the Kumho V8 Touring Car championship at Queensland Raceway.
“The fact that I’ve been lucky to drive so many cars, I think that experience will really help me learn this car,” he added. “All the different tyre compounds I’ve been on, the different dynamics of all the cars – prototypes, tin tops, single seaters – you can take different things from different cars. I’ve heard the Dunlop Super2 tyre is a very tricky tyre to master, and when we get into testing we’ll find out. I’m sure all the experience I’ve had isn’t going to hurt, and all the racing and race craft I’ve learned over the years will help me too.”
Randle – who has long had the support of team co-owner Rusty French – is expected to test the team’s Super2 entry next month. With his rookie season fast approaching, Randle hopes to keep his expectations in check as he faces steep competition in the junior category.
“Well the first thing to do is probably to learn everyone’s name here!” he said with a laugh. “In serious, the goal is to learn the car, learn the circuits, and try and build every round on my performance. Ultimately, if I can get some wins, podiums, that would be fantastic. I’ve got to be realistic, because it’s very tough competition. I’ll be racing against drivers who have been in the championship for four or five years, but in saying that, that isn’t going to stop me from driving as hard as I can. I want to try and make my mark.”
While his talent is apparent, team principal and CEO Tim Edwards points to Randle’s youth as an area that excites him. The 21-year old’s signing bears resemblance to the likes of Chaz Mostert, Cameron Waters, and Garry Jacobson, who were groomed in Tickford Racing’s development program and have since earned and excelled in their Supercars opportunities.
“Thomas is a young man we’ve had our eye on for a while, so to have him in our camp is exciting news,” said Edwards. “We’ve seen what he’s capable of both in this part of the world and abroad, and at his age we can develop him in our program and build him into an even more well-rounded driver. The aim is to help him sustain a long, successful career with Tickford Racing, and the Super2 category will provide a good challenge for him to start with. He’s a strong talent with room to grow, and we’re looking forward to helping him achieve that growth.”
The move sees both Garry Jacobson and Josh Kean’s tenures at Tickford Racing come to an end after two years.
“We’d like to thank Garry for his time and contributions to our program the past two seasons,” Edwards added. “He always gave us tremendous effort and focus, and it showed on the track, most notably in his Super2 championship in 2016. We determined it was best for both his young career and our future prospects to part ways at this time, but he has a bright future ahead of him, and we look forward to seeing him at the track.”
Jacobson’s 2017 Super2 teammate, Josh Kean, will also not return to the team after his only season at Tickford Racing produced a best finish of sixth in the second race at Sandown Raceway.
The 2018 Dunlop Super2 season kicks off March 1-4 at the Adelaide 500 as support for the Supercars season opening event.